And today’s task from hell: Intersections

Dylan was one of the leads for the work on intersections
Dylan was one of the leads for the work on intersections

We’re playing a little catch-up here, but we wanted you to know about the third step in the big three-step process of playa preparation, a hellish exercise called “intersections.”

You know how the city roads are laid out – from the Esplanade that rings the city out along twelve concentric streets named for the letters of the alphabet. Those streets are intersected by roads designated by clock points, from 10 o’clock around to 2 o’clock, with 6 o’clock being the center point. You can see a map of the city here.

So that’s all fine and dandy and neat and tidy, but in order for the grand design of the city to make sense, to be useful, what each of those intersections needs is … signs. And what each of those signs needs is … a stake to put it on. And what each of those stakes needs is … a pounding.

Yep, today’s fun task once again involves the torture device known as a stake pounder. And you’re going to need plenty of them, because there are 317 intersections, and each of them gets three or four stakes. Then you throw in the emergency signs that also must be put up and, well, you’ve got a lot of pounding. Again.

Booya and Dylan are the crew team leads, and Just George once again is in a leadership position. And their plans involved a new approach this year, one that threw the maximum number of resources at the task. Instead of letting people who had come together to tackle the fence filter off to separate crews, they kept a large number of them together to do the intersections.


“It’s a marshaling of resources,” George said. “And it’s better for morale because keeping all these kids together builds team spirit. … It’s easier for the Fluffers to support us, too.”

A task that had usually dragged on for at least three days in years past was done in two this year. And George, the former military guy, was once again proud of his troops.

“If I’d have had them when I was in the military, I’d have made general.”

George’s affection and admiration was obvious, but it didn’t prevent him from requiring his people to do some pushups in the dust when everything was finished. That’s the sign of a job well done out here. You get to do pushups.



Stakes were thrown out along the route to be pounded by the crew following behind
Feral Kid looking for something to pound
Four corners to an intersection, four stakes to pound
Lexi had at it





The road crew did a huddle at the end of the task
Then they got to do a bunch of pushups
Intersection crew, 2013

About the author: John Curley

John Curley (that's me) has been Burning since the relatively late date of 2004, and in 2008 I spent the better part of a month on the playa, documenting the building and burning of Black Rock City in words and pictures. I loved it, and I've been doing it ever since. I was a newspaper person in a previous life, and I spent many years at the San Francisco Chronicle. At the time I left, in 2007, I was the deputy managing editor in charge of Page One and the news sections of the paper. Since then, I've turned a passion for photography into a second career. I shoot for editorial, commercial and private clients. I've also taught a little bit, including two years at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism and a year at San Francisco State University. I live on the San Mateo coast, just south of San Francisco in California.

14 Comments on “And today’s task from hell: Intersections